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5. Living as Children of Light

1Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. 7Be not ye therefore partakers with them; 8For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; 11and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; 12for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. 13But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. 14Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. 15Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. 22Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; 26that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: 29for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; 30because we are members of his body. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. 33Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.

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8. sometimes—"once." The emphasis is on "were." Ye ought to have no fellowship with sin, which is darkness, for your state as darkness is now PAST. Stronger than "in darkness" (Ro 2:19).

light—not merely "enlightened"; but light enlightening others (Eph 5:13).

in—in union with the Lord, who is THE LIGHT.

children of light—not merely "of the light"; just as "children of disobedience" is used on the opposite side; those whose distinguishing characteristic is light. Pliny, a heathen writing to Trajan, bears unwilling testimony to the extraordinary purity of Christians' lives, contrasted with the people around them.

9. fruit of the Spirit—taken by transcribers from Ga 5:22. The true reading is that of the oldest manuscripts, "The fruit of THE LIGHT"; in contrast with "the unfruitful works of darkness" (Eph 5:11). This verse is parenthetic. Walk as children of light, that is, in all good works and words, "FOR the fruit of the light is [borne] in [Alford; but Bengel, 'consists in'] all goodness [opposed to 'malice,' Eph 4:31], righteousness [opposed to 'covetousness,' Eph 5:3] and truth [opposed to 'lying,' Eph 4:25]."

10. Proving—construed with "walk" (Eph 5:8; Ro 12:1, 2). As we prove a coin by the eye and the ear, and by using it, so by accurate and continued study, and above all by practice and experimental trial, we may prove or test "what is acceptable unto the Lord." This is the office of "light," of which believers are "children," to manifest what each thing is, whether sightly or unsightly.

11. unfruitful works of darkness—Sins are terminated in themselves, and therefore are called "works," not "fruits" (Ga 5:19, 22). Their only fruit is that which is not in a true sense fruit (De 32:32), namely, "death" (Ro 6:21; Ga 6:8). Plants cannot bear "fruit" in the absence of light. Sin is "darkness," and its parent is the prince of darkness (Eph 6:12). Graces, on the other hand, as flourishing in "the light," are reproductive, and abound in fruits; which, as harmoniously combining in one whole, are termed (in the singular) "the FRUIT of the Spirit" (Eph 5:9).

rather, &c.—Translate as Greek, "rather even reprove them" (compare Mt 5:14-16). Not only "have no fellowship, but even reprove them," namely, in words, and in your deeds, which, shining with "the light," virtually reprove all that is contrary to light (Eph 5:13; Joh 3:19-21). "Have no fellowship," does not imply that we can avoid all intercourse (1Co 5:10), but "avoid such fellowship as will defile yourselves"; just as light, though it touch filth, is not soiled by it; nay, as light detects it, so, "even reprove sin."

12. The Greek order is, "For the things done in secret by them, it is a shame even to speak of." The "for" gives his reason for "not naming" (compare Eph 5:3) in detail the works of darkness, whereas he describes definitely (Eph 5:9) "the fruit of the light" [Bengel]. "Speak of," I think, is used here as "speaking of without reproving," in contrast to "even reprove them." Thus the "for" expresses this, Reprove them, for to speak of them without reproving them, is a shame (Eph 5:3). Thus "works of darkness" answers to "things done in secret."

13. that are reproved—rather, "when they are reproved," namely, by you (Eph 5:11).

whatsoever doth make manifest—rather, "everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or 'shone upon,' namely, by your 'reproving,' Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer 'darkness,' Eph 5:8, but) light." The devil and the wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but love darkness, though outwardly the light shines round them. Therefore, "light" has no transforming effect on them, so that they do not become light (Joh 3:19, 20). But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves (Eph 5:8), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your "armor of light" (Ro 13:12) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.

14. Wherefore—referring to the whole foregoing argument (Eph 5:8, 11, 13). Seeing that light (spiritual) dispels the pre-existing darkness, He (God) saith … (compare the same phrase, Eph 4:8).

Awake—The reading of all the oldest manuscripts is "Up!" or, "Rouse thee!" a phrase used in stirring men to activity. The words are a paraphrase of Isa 60:1, 2, not an exact quotation. The word "Christ," shows that in quoting the prophecy, he views it in the light thrown on it by its Gospel fulfilment. As Israel is called on to "awake" from its previous state of "darkness" and "death" (Isa 59:10; 60:2), for that her Light is come; so the Church, and each individual is similarly called to awake. Believers are called on to "awake" out of sleep; unbelievers, to "arise" from the dead (compare Mt 25:5; Ro 13:11; 1Th 5:6, with Eph 2:1).

Christ—"the true light," "the Sun of righteousness."

give thee light—rather, as Greek, "shall shine upon thee" (so enabling thee by being "made manifest" to become, and be, by the very fact, "light," Eph 5:13; then being so "enlightened," Eph 1:18, thou shalt be able, by "reproving," to enlighten others).




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